It was Fowl Humour’s second comedy night at the Ned Ludd in Nottingham. This takes place upstairs, in a room quite separate to the main part of the pub. It’ll hold 70 people, but luckily tonight only 25 or so turned up in the heat. I say luckily, as it was sweltering hot in there, on the hottest day in ten years, which was bad luck for all concerned, as it affected performance and audience to some degree. Rob Stevenson was present in the audience, but was not performing, which was a shame, as he had impressed me when I saw him previously. Andy Fowler was on duty as welcomer, not MC. Owing to there being a large number of acts and everyone feeling the heat, he did the sensible thing and kept the compering to a minimum. This is not something I generally agree with and I’m sure under other circumstances Andy would have put in a full stint warming the room up, but frankly, it was just too hot.
Opening was Paul Mutagejja who came onto a room that was both boiling and also slightly cold to comedy. He gave the room a nice set, with a good feel to it and was a good choice for opener. He’s charismatic enough to get the audience interacting with him and has a nice style. His material was pretty decent, with Lincolnshire sausage and Skegness being standouts. He has a nice routine about a rollercoaster, which with a slight topical twist could be extremely good. I wasn’t too sure about his Granddad/football material. It wasn’t bad in itself, but the lengthy build was a bit disproportionate to the reveal. He had a good night and was well received by the room.
Will Collishaw had a tricky time. Due to the heat, he looked like he was melting and I think he did well to perform. He had some good material about lookalikes and whilst a comedian discussing who he looks like isn’t breaking any new ground, this was still good fun and got good laughs. The section where he discussed his recent mugging was decent, but his story about his dad wasn’t that good and could do with a bit more work. Collishaw has a nice speech pattern, in that he speaks in short sentences and this could perhaps be used nicely by him with a number of throwaway one-liners.
The ever entertaining Graham Milton opened play after the first interval. He was robbed of the momentum generated by his opening material by four late comers, but this wasn’t a serious impediment. He delivered good material from a set that hung together very well. He reminds me of Andrew Lawrence, but without the bitterness. The room enjoyed his set and it was fun to watch him alternately use material and banter with the room.
Calum Tingham has a lot of positives, but also some negatives. However, the negatives are nothing that can’t be resolved and the positives are very much to his credit. He looks comfy with a microphone, he’s confident, has a decent stage presence, good energy levels and a decent delivery. This is all good and is hard to learn from scratch. However, his material is on the weak side and not a lot of this seemed to land heavily with the audience. Tinder and online dating is ok as material, but it is a well trodden road. There aren’t many nights where someone doesn’t reference tinder or online dating. Tonight I think it was mentioned by three. With stronger material, he could achieve a lot more, as he has a certain amount of style already.
Ben Keaton was introduced as being from Father Ted, which just reinforced how long ago Father Ted was on telly. He was running a character act as a Catholic priest, which went down very well with the room. He has a fast paced delivery and some stand out material about sex toys, but the baptism routine was a bit overlong. The closing by being hit in the groin was certainly unusual. I personally wasn’t massively convinced, as I feel Irish comedians doing jokes about being Catholic is a bit of a cliché, however, the rest of the room were impressed and he had a good gig.
Liam Mitchell opened the final section. He has a quiet delivery and hasn’t got the biggest stage presence, but he does have some nice material that he does sell quite well. He received a good laugh for his first visual joke, which I liked. However, for his other visual gags, he does need something bigger, as from 20′ away it was hard to see what was on his screen. Again, he was a comedian who dealt with online dating, albeit from a more novel angle. I did feel that Mitchell was a bit short-changed with his hay fever reveal, as it was a really nice line and definitely deserved more than it received from the crowd.
Jon Pearson closed. It’s always a joy to watch this chap. Tonight he was weaving new material into his act alongside his established material. He did 30 minutes in the sweltering heat, which was some going. He began on a bit of a false note by some off the cuff banter about the heat, but he had enough stage craft to see he wasn’t getting much back for it and swiftly jettisoned it and moved on. His border material received some good laughs, his feline relations a more mixed response, but this does show potential. His do it up’er gag is definitely a keeper. His careers advice has a lot of promise, but could do with some work on the twist at the end. His cannibalism material went down well and the add on of the holiday destination is lovely.